Homeschool Unit Studies

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The idea of unit studies always intrigued me especially after I went to a Konos seminar many years ago. Basically, a unit study is just an in-depth study of a topic. The topic can be tied to a child’s interests or to what the parent thinks the child should be studying.

Features of Homeschool Unit Studies

Unit studies usually start out with a broad topic such as weather, oceans, a period of history, etc. You can study different subjects within that broad topic. A unit study can last a few hours up to an entire school year. You can combine several ages of children together to study a topic at different levels of difficulty. 

homeschool unit studies

Advantages - Here are some advantages (as I see it) to doing homeschool unit studies:

  • Your child may remember what they studied better than if they filled in a workbook or read a textbook.
  • You can use a loose or strict schedule and plan
  • You can use a unit study to learn several subjects at a time

How to Plan Homeschool Unit Studies

  • Use the books you have available at home or use the library or homeschool book publisher to start gathering materials. Look for books, videos, music, cookbooks, or anything else you can think of.
  • Look at the community resources around you to see what will relate to the study you are doing. Is there a play or theater production related to what you are studying? Is there a store or hobbyist in your area that carries crafts items or materials related to what you are studying?
  • Check the Internet for any museum tours online, coloring pages, worksheets or interactive websites that can make your subject come alive. Get guide which has over 350 websites you can use that are specifically chosen for homeschooling.

Here are some activities you can do with the materials and resources you have collected.

  • Read books, both picture and chapter books
  • Keep a journal
  • Write poems, essays, or stories from a character’s point of view
  • Create a spelling list
  • Study vocabulary words
  • View videos or live shows
  • Costumes – make your own or purchase. Can make your own sets too!
  • Go on field trips
  • Print paper dolls or buy paper dolls relating to your area of study
  • Get craft ideas from television, books, or the Internet
  • Check out cookbooks and make recipes related to what you are studying
  • Make a mobile
  • Draw a mural
  • Trace a picture or map
  • Collect items
  • Learn geography for the area or subject

Disadvantages - The disadvantages to doing a homeschool unit studies would be that sometimes it can be a bit of work for the parent if the children are not interested in participating or if children are very young. If you think you are not creative, this may be a roadblock, but you can learn a lot from homeschool forums, books or other homeschoolers that you know that would be willing to give you ideas. Some people can’t stay motivated if they don’t have a curriculum or lesson plan that they are forced to stick to. Unit studies do need attention each day, but can still be fun and provide enjoyable learning. The danger would be that you might become too relaxed and just let your children wander around and do whatever they pleased.

Help with Unit Studies

Amanda Bennett is the queen of unit studies! Why reinvent the wheel when she has already done all the hard work for you? Here is a very SMALL sample of all the homeschool unit study curriculum packages that she has available:

1 year Download-N-Go

19 Download N Go units

Outdoor Fun Pack

Lewis & Clark/Prairie Pioneers

Expedition Fun Pack (7 units)

Foods Fun Pack (4 units)

When my children were younger we really liked Five in a Row although it is not as readily available as it used to be. It was a simple way to use picture books to introduce me and them to unit studies. We read the same classic children’s picture book each day for a week and did most of the activities listed for that book. This is a great way to see if unit studies might be for you without spending a lot of money or time.

Whether you decide to plan your own unit study or whether you use a guide, I hope this page has been helpful and has given you the confidence to pursue unit studies in your home school.


Have A Great Unit Study Story or Unit Study Idea?

Do you have a great story about how you use unit studies in your home or a great idea that others can use to implement unit studies better? Share it!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Use Things Around You! 
Do We all have trouble motivating our kids sometimes? I do! And I've found the best way to motivate them to study something is for me to discover what …

Lap books 
We love to do lapbooks. My boys will pull them out and look at them all the time and recall everything we learned. My Comments: Do you make up your …

Culinary Arts 
My daughter needed an elective so she took CLE Home Ec 1. This was a pretty comprehensive course on cooking, however she became very interested in food …

Unit Studies promote family togetherness and learning about life. 
Besides the obvious of making schooling easier I think unit studies are great for bringing a family together and for teaching skills they will need later …

Home Economics 
My daughter had a lot of fun doing a cooking and food services course. We used the Joy of Cooking cookbook as a text book. She learned the cooking terms, …

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